The first jolting fact about the amazing new over-sized picture book called Ultimate Ocean-pedia: The Most Complete Ocean Reference Ever, is the reminder that this place we call “Earth” should probably be called “Ocean” because over 71% of its surface is covered by waves and waves (and waves!) of water. Author Christina Wilsdon, Science Writer and lover of sand and crashing waves, pens a wide, deep, ocean-blue story of earth’s miles and miles of water, including the humans that swim in, surf across, and sail on it, and the creatures that live on, in and near it.
This book is a marine education and an adventure all rolled into one. From the earliest pages, it gets right down to business. Pages 14, 20, 26 and 32 offer full-spread maps of the Pacific, Atlantic, Indian and Arctic Oceans, respectively, including how much territory each covers, their unique wild places, and the spectacular wonders peculiar to each location. For example, the Pacific’s wild places include the Great Barrier Reef and Easter Island, and its wonders include the California sea lion and the Japanese spider crab (P. 18-19). The Atlantic’s wild places include the mystical island of Atlantis, the Black Sea and the island of Greenland (P. 22-23), and its wonders include the glowing sucker octopus and the Atlantic humpback dolphin.
The Indian Ocean’s wild places include the Red Sea, and everyone’s favorite: Madagascar. It’s wonders include the veined octopus and the Christmas frigate bird. The Arctic Ocean’s wild places include the North Pole and Svalbard islands. Its wonders include the ringed seal and the see-through Bathykorus bouilloni (jellyfish).
As readers flip the pages of this amazing book, they learn that earth has enough water to “stretch from the sun to the planet Neptune and back approximately six million times.” That’s a lot of water! Readers learn about the ocean’s different layers and the creatures that exist in each (P. 41); what happens in the deep sea (P. 50-51), and what “gooey jellyfish” look like up close and personal.
Ms. Wilsdon offers readers a plethora of sea life: the Glowing sucker octopus (P. 25); the bulbous-nosed blobfish (P. 45); a lovely fleeting school of blue tango “Dory” fish (P. 43); and the alien-looking deep-sea anglerfish—the stuff of nightmares with that eerie lighted thing on its head and teeth so long and sharp that it cannot ever close its mouth (P. 47). There are gulper eels (P. 50); leafy sea dragons (P. 55); the festive Christmas tree worm (P. 73); and even upside-down jellyfish (P. 55). There is the blue whale, which eats approximately 40 million krill a day (P. 62); the lions mane jellyfish, which has tentacles so long (up to 120 ft) that a school of small silver fish can dart among them (P. 67)
Ms. Wilsdon truly thought of everything for this book. There is a well-organized Table of Contents to help readers figure out where they want to go first, and a detailed index at the back for finding specific sea creatures, lickity-split. There are sections on ocean life (fish, sharks, crustaceans, sharks, dolphins, etc.); wild weather (heat, monsoons, storm, El Nino, etc.); life along the coast (the shore, the sand, kelp forests, lagoons, etc.); and what happens when people and oceans meet (exploration, saving sea life, protecting the ocean, etc.).
But perhaps best of all, there are pictures, pictures pictures–all up close, full color, and so clear that readers will be tempted to reach out and touch them.
Use this amazing history, science, marine and trivia hardback book of knowledge in your science, geography and vocational occupations classroom. Use as reference book for specific animals and areas, or give it as a gift for budding marine biologists.